Enterprise Agility: Clarifying Your Vision

By Doug Rose

Before you try to initiate enterprise agility, develop a clear vision of what your organization will look like or how it will operate differently after the change is in place. Your vision should include the purpose for making the change; for example, “To improve our product delivery agility, so we can deliver greater value to our customers faster.” Here’s one approach for developing a vision for enterprise agility:

  1. Gather all stakeholders or reps from different stakeholder groups in a room for a brainstorming session.

    This is a great opportunity to bring in people who are likely to resist change, so they have a voice, and you can address any concerns they may have.

  2. Highlight the problems or limitations with the way your organization currently delivers value/product to customers.

    Ask participants to point out other limitations or challenges in the current system.

  3. Present agile as a solution, pointing out specifically how it can address the limitations or challenges on the list.

    Ask participants for their input. This is a good opportunity to identify any pockets of resistance you’re likely to encounter.

  4. Ask participants to suggest vision statements that describe the way the organization needs to change to more effectively overcome the challenges it faces and to achieve its goal of increasing its enterprise agility.

    Write down suggested vision statements on your whiteboard.

  5. Engage the group in a discussion until you arrive at a general consensus on the vision statement.

    Your goal is to walk out of the brainstorming meeting with a vision statement that everyone in the group accepts. An inability to reach consensus on the vision is usually a sign that your transformation will have a difficult time succeeding.

Starting without a clear vision guarantees failure. Many organizations don’t have a sense of their own culture. They can’t envision how agile will fit with their larger organizational mindset. They haven’t even considered whether their organization is open to change. Without a clear vision, you’re unlikely to be able to overcome the resistance that always accompanies a major change.